Saturday 3 December 2016

A minister who values the press

Published 11/11/2012 | 05:00

THOUGH he sometimes appears to talk too softly, and too rarely, Pat Rabbitte, once he engages with an issue, is one of the few cabinet ministers who can carry a big ideological stick.

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He is also, in this Government, a rare creature in his ability to engage in a critical but reasoned fashion with the media. The Communications Minister's different qualities were in evidence at last week's gathering of the National Newspapers of Ireland, where, without flattery or fawning, Mr Rabbitte defended the ongoing role and importance of "the simple newspaper" in explaining the financial, moral and economic trauma the world has experienced since 2008 with a "depth that has not been matched elsewhere".

Mr Rabbitte may believe that "it is difficult to imagine how a democratic western society would look with a media industry that lacked a strong newspaper sector" but those cabinet enthusiasts for the Berlusconi School of media coverage are, of course, rather less curious. And they are definitely indifferent to Rabbitte's concern that "across Europe, concentration in the ownership of newspapers and other news organisations has the potential to seriously harm the ability of media to report in an independent manner".

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